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My Second Family

Jennifer R.
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 2, March-April 2001, pp. 57, 59

I attended my first La Leche League Series Meeting when my twins were six weeks old. I had just gotten home from Michigan, where my husband's parents lived. During my visit there, many people told me that Brianna (the smaller of the two sisters) was not fat enough and I needed to feed her formula to "fatten her up." I began to doubt my ability to nourish my babies as I had nourished their older sister for 18 months.

When I walked into that first meeting, one of the Leaders came up to me and told me how beautiful my babies were. For the first time, no one mentioned the size difference between my babies but looked at each baby individually. I expressed my concerns and my family's concerns about Brianna's weight gain. The Leader looked at me with such caring eyes and said that I needed to remember that they may be twins but they were different babies. They were still okay and I was doing the right thing. The other women offered words of encouragement and wonderful solutions for everyday problems-from fussy babies to a toddler who was feeling left out. They even had ideas about managing while my husband was deployed at sea with the US Navy for six months. Their suggestions helped me find ways to keep our family ties close. I felt I had found a second family.

This family parented the same way I did. They gave me the confidence to nourish my babies with my milk, and they were there when I had concerns. BethAnn and Brianna thrived on my milk until their little sister arrived 23 months later. By that time, I was hooked. I started using the Group Library and devouring every book I could about parenting and breastfeeding. I was still going to the same Group's meetings, with the same Leaders. They taught me how to be proactive, caring, patient, and how to express my feelings to other family members. They let me know it was okay to sleep with my baby, to delay feeding solid foods until she was ready, and to raise my children with love, respect, and understanding.

They taught me how to be a better wife and appreciate my husband who was and is a wonderful mate. I was warmed by their support and understanding and wanted to acquire those attitudes. I wanted to give back and share with other mothers the things I had learned: the art of breastfeeding, patience, love, commitment, understanding, and the abgity to balance other tasks while breastfeeding your child.

I finished my training for leadership and became a Leader when I was pregnant with our fifth daughter. She was born in the same hospital as her sisters. By this time the doctors, nurses, and most of the staff knew who I was. I had gained respect. My baby never left my side. Nine months later, she is still nursing happily, as did all of her sisters. I am thankful to those Leaders who helped me to become who I am today. They taught me things that helped me be a better person in all my roles as wife, mother, friend, and LLL Leader. They will forever be in my heart.

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